This is the diary & short stories of Shalee Lianne, in the fictitious universe, New Eden, in the game of Eve Online. Come be a part of her world...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Last Light- Part Two


Her eyes darted back and forth behind closed lids.  Her body trembled as the last memories of her previous life flashed through her mind.  She fought desperately to put all the pieces in place, to make sense of a massive information 'download' into her new clone.

She thrashed about in the clone bay hibernation unit, sloshing fluid as her fingers curled into tight fists.  She slammed them against the translucent lid of her container, beating frantically to draw someone's attention to her.

"I'm alive," the thought ran through her mind though she couldn't actually speak the words, her mouth was still melded around an artificial tube that connected to her lungs, a breathing apparatus that provided sterile, filtered air.

The dull thud of her hands smashing against the container startled Kobe Caglia, junior pod technician, assigned to Jonathan, chief pod technician- someone who had been working for Shalee since she'd become a capsuleer.

Groggily he glanced around, having fallen asleep at the station while his boss had taken a much-needed break.  The pair of them had been on duty the entire night as their employer fought her way across the Bleaklands.

Thus was the life of a pod technician.  They slept when their employer slept.  Their schedules mirrored hers so that they would be there to resurrect her should she die.

And with the Tribals putting up a relentless fight across the war zone, every Amarrian Militia capsuleer seemed to be pulling double shifts of patrols just to keep them at bay.  They barely slept, and neither did their grounded counterparts.

The Amarr were losing the war at a frightning pace.  Nerves were stretched, tempers were high, and everyone was exhausted.

Kobe hadn't meant to doze off but it had finally caught up with him.  Having been monitoring her patrol over comms, he had fallen asleep to the sound of the FC giving orders to jump and hold cloak.

He had started to dream of the fleet, of being in the midst of the battle.  He was there as the two fleets engaged, as ships exploded one by one.  He could hear the cries as thousands of crew members were blown to bits out into the unforgiving endlessness of space.  Debris surrounded the stargate, lights from it illuminated what was left of their ships.  So many pods hovered, suspended in an eerie light.

He jerked awake to the sound of 'Resurrection Imminent'.  A siren blazed, the display lit up with pale neon warning lights. 'Resurrection Imminent,' the automated warning system repeated.

"Fuck."  He dashed over to the hibernation unit and pushed the lid to the side.  He shoved one hand beneath her neck, pulling her up out of the shimmering fluids, his other hand pulled the tube from her mouth.

"Breathe," he said as he rubbed his thumb across her eyelids, wiping away the liquid that had gelled in the creases.  She blinked several times, clearing her vision, taking a few shallow breaths.

"Commodore Lianne?  You with me?" he asked in a soft voice, staring down into her confused eyes.

She nodded as he pulled her up out of the clone vat and wrapped her in a towel.  She took a few tentative steps then faltered.  He caught her, "Easy now."

"Something doesn't feel right."

"What do you mean?"

"I died," she said softly.

He nodded.  It wasn't uncommon to have confusion after awakening for the first time in a new body.  "You did."

She hesitated, "But ...something isn't right."  Memories flashed lightning fast through her mind.

"Tell me."

"I don't know."  Her brows furrowed as she tried to remember, "I can't remember."

"Maybe it will come to you later.  Here, let me help you Commodore."  He led her off to the showers so that she could get cleaned up.  After she went through a quick medical exam, she was released.

Wearing a drab medical jumpsuit, she entered into the medical station's cafeteria, in no hurry to make her way back to her captain's quarters.  She filled a tray and headed over to sit by the windows.  As soon as she took her seat, Scorpion Venom neared her table, "This chair taken?"

She nodded, as if to say sit down.  "So they got you too?"

"Yeah."  He sat down in front of her, his tray as full as hers, "Fucking bastards."

She studied his face, recognizing him after a moment. "Scorpion, right?"

"At your service."  He popped the lid off a bottle of water and took a long drink from it.

"This is the first time we've met?  Out of pod, I mean," she asked.  She leaned back in her chair and twisted her damp hair into a bun.

"Yeah, I think so."  He gave her a glance in between bites.  "Do you..." he seemed to hesitate.

"Do I remember how we died?" she prompted.

He nodded.  "Yeah.  One minute we were fighting and the next..."

She finished his sentence, "Everything was dark.  The pod wouldn't warp, it should have still been online.  But it wasn't, it was just dark and cold and no one could hear.  I could see outside, I could see there were others just sitting there..."  she whispered, remembering the last few moments of her last death.

His dark eyes bore down on here, lost in the memory, "And then suddenly there was so much light.  Like a blinding light and I couldn't get my pod out.  It should have responded, but it didn't. The light was from outside...and then it felt like it was being pulled by tractor beams?"

She nodded again, "Yes!  It makes no sense, right?  It couldn't have happened like that...it's impossible...you can't lock onto pods with tractor beams and that light..."  Her voice dropped to a mere whisper, "And then we were pulled into a loading bay and broken out of our pods, and that's when we died.  After the pods were split open manually."

"Right."  The stared at each other for a long moment.

"Well fuck."

She glanced down at her food tray, "Maybe it was just some...glitch... in the download."  She knew that it was very unlikely that they both experienced the same exact 'glitch' but there was no other way to explain it.

"Yeah.  A glitch," he said unconvincingly.

They both fell silent.

***
A stream of pale green lights glowed along the top of the dark corridor, simulating night in the 'second station' of Egghelende, a Gallente station that the Imperial Outlaws had claimed as their home for the last couple of months.  "Deck forty-seven," the automated voice announced as the doors slid open.

She exited the elevator and turned right, making her way towards her rented apartment.  One side of the corridor was transparent, giving a panoramic view of space, the other side was lined with doors that lead to I.LAW and TMFED captain's quarters.

Her thoughts lingered on the night's battles.  The Amarrian Militia had dominated the field hour after hour.  The Minmatar melted beneath their lasers, their missiles, their heavy artillery fire. The fleet had begun small, commanded by Almity and by the end of the night they had killed over four billion ISK worth of ships.

'Not a bad night at all', she thought as she neared her door, still high off the thrill of combat.  The apartment door next to hers, recently vacated by Jones Bones who had left corp to return to the Heretics, slid open.  A tallish man with blonde hair and startling blue eyes stepped out.

She gave pause, looking at him with curiosity.  "I thought those quarters were empty..." she said skeptically.

"Not anymore."

Shalee frowned, "They have been retained for the Imperial Outlaws, there must be a mistake."

"But I am an Imperial Outlaw," he smirked.

She mentally ran through a list of new recruits, they had been flooded with them over the last week or so, but he didn't match any of them.  "No you're not."

He nodded his head towards the corridor, "Take a walk with me?" He gave her a rather charming smile.

"Uh, no?"  Was he hitting on her?  She tilted her head, staring him down.  The nerve of some people, she thought irritability.  "Tell me what you are doing here."

He smirked again, "C'mon.  Take a walk and I will explain.  I promised you I would."

Her brow arched, "What?  You're making no sense.  I'm not going on a walk with you okay?  I don't even know you.  Tomorrow I will contact the station manager and get this sorted but right now I'm just going to go to bed, so if you will please excuse me."  She laid her hand against the palm scanner by her door.

"C'mon.  Take a walk.  What's it going to hurt?"  He continued to smile at her but something in his eyes pleaded with her.  "Please?"

She shook her head, growing alarmed at his insistence. "No, I'm tired and I  just..." her hand wrapped around the hilt of her sidearm as he closed the distance between them.

He was inches from her when he whispered, "Do not open that door."

Fear slithered through her, "Get away from me!"  She shoved him as she pulled the sidearm from its holster, her other hand taping in the security code.  The door slid open.

"Goddamnit you're hardheaded," he said as he followed her in, shoving her out of the way as he pulled his own sidearm, shooting it at point-blank range, downing one of the would-be assailants.  The other came at him, attempting to knock the sidearm from his grasp.

He grabbed the man by the wrist and jerked him forward, twisting his arm so that it bent, in which he used the leverage to turn the man around and force him down onto his knees.  "This is the best the Covenant can send?"  He placed the barrel of his sidearm against the man's temple and pulled the trigger.  The second assailant fell forward, dead.

Shalee stared at the two dead men then looked in horror at the one left standing.

"I told you not to open that door, next time could you listen?" He disappeared through her bedroom door and returned a minute later, carrying a handful of sheets.  He started to wrap the bodies up while all she could do was stand there, trembling.

When he was nearly done, she finally seemed to get ahold of herself, "Wha-what just happened?"  she stuttered out the question.

He stood at the sink, washing his bloodied hands, "I just saved your stubborn-assed life is 'what just happened'.  I said walk goddammit, why couldn't you just take a walk?" he sounded as if he were annoyed with her.

"I don't even know you!  I'm not going to take a walk with someone I don't even know!"

"You do know me.  Sort of.  I'm Melisandre.  Also, Scatha and a couple of other identities."

She stared at him blankly, as if still in shock.  "What?"

"Look, we don't have time for all the details right now.  What we are going to do is drag these two over to my apartment and lock it up then go for that walk that you should have taken.  We need to hurry because there are a few more raiders who will be checking up on these two any minute.  Got it?"

She gave a curt nod and helped him drag the bodies next door.  Once they were in the corridors, he shook his head, 'Not that way, this way."  He led her down to a service elevator and once they were inside, he seemed to relax.  "She listens for once."

"So are you going to tell me how you're not a girl?" she asked, watching the deck numbers flicker as the elevator descended.

He shook his head, his lips curled into a slight smile.  "Really?  That's your first question after everything that just happened?"

"It seems relevant."

"They are just a couple of identities, it keeps the DED off my back."

She gave him a look of disbelief.  It wasn't a simple act to just create a whole new identity for yourself, not with the DED involved- a police force and paramilitary of Concord.  They kept tight records on who was a capsuleer.  A pod-pilot simply didn't just buy a new identity, it was nearly impossible, or so she thought.

He noted her look.  "Anything can be bought for a price, haven't you learned that by now.  You can't be that naive."

She rolled her eyes, "Whatever, okay.  Let's say I'm buying this.  What's your real name?"

"Steve.  You can call me Steve."

"Fine, Steve. And now that we know who you are.  I want to know what you are.  You're obviously not just some random capsuleer.  You fought like ...some sort of assassin."

"Bingo."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Last Light, Part One

Consciousness came slowly, a trickling of awareness that broke through the black smothering fog within her mind. A sliver of red light caught her attention and desperately she clung to it, focused on it as she forced herself to mentally fight her way out of the dark.

With awareness came pain, so much goddamned pain that it was tempting to let herself fall back into the sea of darkness once more, to pass out and eventually die.

No.

Sheer determination kept her eyes half parted.

Seconds turned into minutes as she hung there, forcing herself to stay focused on nothing but the red pulsing light, forcing her terror down into something more manageable. Her pounding heart slowed as she fought her way through the panic, the terror.

Breathe, just breathe.

She gathered her courage and forced her eyes open all the way, darting them from side to side. The room was long, cold, and filled with several bodies suspended from the ceiling like her, their wrists bound together above their heads, ankles shackled to the floor. All were clothed in the remnants of their pod suits, a thin material that capsuleers wore while piloting spacecraft. Most of them were unconscious, drugged so that they would offer no resistance when it was time to bleed them.
Her stomach lurched at the thought. Bleeding. She was about to be hooked up to some ungodly device and slowly drained of her blood until nothing remained but a dry corpse. She would die a slow agonizing death aboard this Blood Raider vessel, her blood a sacrifice to the disgusting 'religious' zealots who raided the Bleaklands, ghoulish twisted individuals who wore white animalistic masks and long robes. They preyed upon starships in search of the prized 'red', blood of the cloned.

She whimpered as she heard steps across the metal grating floor. They were coming. One stopped in front of her. He wore the white mask of the Raiders, tho parts of him were visible beyond it. His glossy dark eyes, thin lips. He was taller than her. His white robes were already stained with blood. She looked at the floor.

"Commodore Lianne, a pleasure to have you here." His tone was practically jovial.

"Fuck you."

"Are you really in a position to take such an attitude?" he laughed as he grabbed her by the chin, squeezing her face. "Look at me when I talk to you."

She lifted her blue gaze to his masked face and spit. She never was one to follow the rules and what did it matter now? She knew she was hours away from death regardless of her behavior.

"Fiesty. I bet your blood is spicy," he said as his split-tongue darted between the mouth-hole of his mask and licked at her cheek. "Maybe I'll have a little taste now hmmm?" He pricked her chin then suckled the droplets of blood away.

She struggled to no avail. With her wrists bound above her head and her ankles cuffed to the floor below, there was little she could do. "What's your name?" she whispered.

"Faliin Oreen," he replied as he pulled back, his dark eyes glistened beneath the mask, "Why do you want to know?" He sounded a bit startled, as if no one had ever asked him before. His masked head tilted, his eerie gaze bore down on her.

"Because I want to know who I'm coming for, Faliin Oreen. I want to know the name of the man I'm going to kill."

His body shook with laughter. "You're not going to remember this. You're a capusleer. Your last memory will be from the time you were taken from your pod. You wont remember how you were captured or how you died."

"How did you do it anyhow? How did you manage to abduct this many capsuleers at once?"

He smiled beneath the mask showing off blood-stained teeth. "You really want to know?" he asked, considering telling her. And why not?, he thought. She was marked for death and even as she awakes in a new clone tucked far away in Empire space, she wouldn't have these memories.

None of them would.

"Tell me."

"A couple of hours ago, we were there, cloaked, watching, knowing that one of your numerous battles were about to go down. You militia 'soldiers' are so predictable. And so we waited until the thick of the battle was over and as you lost your ships one by one, we simply stole your pods right out of the sky."

"Impossible. There is no way you could have taken this many capsuleers alive." Sure, they could have collected corpses after the battle but how did they manage to collect intact pods? How did so many not warp out?

"Jovian mechanics. A nice little mod that deploys a pulse of neutralizing energy within a 20KM radius. It shut down your pod's ability to warp- all of your pods." He swept his hand around motioning to the others. "It shuts everything down completely, matter of fact, so that you couldn't even send a distress signal. It was like you exploded but left behind no corpse. Whoever comes looking for your wrecks will assume you all died in the explosions. And somewhere in New Eden, another version of you is waking up in a clone vat, the last memory she will have is dying in a battle in the Bleaklands."

"You bastard."

"Your anger makes it that much more delicious." He pierced her skin with a metallic rod, "Scream for me. I want your blood to boil." Blood oozed around the open wound as he injected it deeper, thrusting it harshly beneath her skin. His serpent tongue wiggled around the rod, licking away any blood that escaped.

She bit down on her lip so hard it bled, but she would not give him the satisfaction of screaming.

Pain radiated in hot, nauseating waves. She felt sick. The contents of her stomach spewed across his blood-splattered robes. "Fucking bitch." He backhanded her, stinging her face though the pain was brief compared to the draining device protruding into her arm. He shoved the rod ruthlessly and she could see it bubble beneath her skin.

"You'll scream before it's over," he promised as he added a second device to her other arm. "I'll be back for you." They retreated, leaving her alone in the room with the other half-dead corpses. She could hear the doors sealing air tight, followed by the sounds of overhead vents pulling back, allowing the air to be perfumed by some sort of toxin, she presumed. She tried to hold her breath but knew it was pointless.

Tears rolled silently down her cheeks, her head dropped to the side, pressed against her upheld arm. She could feel her life fading away and she tried to fight it. "I don't want to die I don't want to die," she whispered to herself over and over. "I don't want to die like this," she said mindlessly.

"What the fuck..." someone screamed as his eyes shot open, his face twisted with terror. He jerked at the chains above his head, "What's going on, what's happening?"

Shalee rolled her head slightly to see who was screaming. "You're dead."

"The hell I am! Where the fuck are we?!" he demanded.

"Abducted."

"Sansha?"

"Bloodraiders."

"How the fuck did that happen? I was just fighting and then suddenly I couldn't warp out..." his voice quieted as he noticed the tubes wrapped around his arms, his blood dripping slowly out into a container beside him.

"Like I said, we are already dead."

He peered at her through the semi-darkness as he coughed, "Shalee?"

"Yeah. Scorp?" she whispered, feeling light-headed. She recognized Scorpion Venom though she'd never seen him out of pod. He was a new inty pilot in the Amarr militia. She'd been in countless fleets with him by this point and knew that if anyone should have gotten off field, it should have been. Fucking Bloodraiders. Godamned Jovians.

"Yeah. Where are...I mean. How? How did we even get here?"

"They came in as we exploded and had some goddamned Jovian device to suspend our pods, we couldn't warp out. The pods must have sent a signal back to the meds saying we are dead- I think we are already resurrected and no one even knows we are here."

"Fuck. So we are going to die right?" He jerked at the chains again.

"Yeah."

"Goddamnit."

"Yeah."

"What are they going to do with us?"

"Bleed us. They will drain every drop of blood from our bodies until we are completely dry." She sniffled as a few more tears streaked her cheeks. "It's all they care about. Clone blood."

He nudged his head at the tubes inserted into his arms, trying to push them out. He tensed, the movement causing blood to pour out beyond the tube, streaking his arm with dark red liquid.

"Might as well stop that, you're just going to make them come back," she whispered. "The worst part is over, all we have to do now is die."

Emotions flooded his face as his dark eyes filled with unshed tears. "So this is how we die?"

"We die all the time, don't we?"

"Yeah but not like this, not like some goddamned cocktail ingredient," he said weakly.

"It wont be long now," she whispered as her eyes closed, her lashes fluttering against her cheeks as she tried to fight to keep them open, to stay alert. "Talk to me, tell me something. Keep talking." she pleaded. "I don't want to die alone."

She sniffled, waiting for him to speak, to say anything. "Scorp?" It took every bit of her strength to glance in his direction, "Please..." But he was already dead.
"You're not alone." Another voice said nearby, one that she did not recognize. She forced herself to turn in the chains, her body swung to face him. He was tall, dark blonde hair, and had the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. They almost glowed. She stared blankly at him.

"I don't know you."

"You do."

She blinked several times, fighting back the inevitable, "I don't," she protested. "What's your name?"

"I'll tell you when we are out of this place."

"How? You wont remember this. We wont remember any of it...it will be like it never happened." Through the vents they could hear the sounds of several people screaming at once.

"I'll remember, okay? I'll remember and I will tell you."

More screams added to the hellish sounds, "Oh god, they are torturing them." She closed her eyes for a brief moment, "God let me die before they come back."

"Look at me."

She blinked her eyes open and stared at him, "The worst is over," He said. "Take deep breaths, deep as you can. It will pull in more of the poison into your system. Breathe with me." He gulped in as much air as he could. "Do it!" he said as he exhaled.

Barely nodding, she whispered, "Okay." She forced the strange, fragrant air into her lungs.

"Breathe," he said again, once more swallowing as much air as he could, "Breathe." She focused on nothing but the sound of his voice, breathing deeply upon his commands.

The air seemed to get lighter, the sounds of the screaming faded, or maybe she just couldn't hear it anymore. The red light seemed to grow, filling her vision. Everything was a blur.

She forced herself to look at him one final time. His eyes were bright, as if lit by something within. An eye piece? No. She must be hallucinating, she thought. Something was wrong with his eyes, they weren't human, and something silver, the color of bright metal, was dripping down his cheeks from the corners of his eyes. It crawled down his face and fell to the floor, reshaping into a pool of silver before dripping through the grated floor.

She couldn't muster the strength to ask him about it. She inhaled her final breath and exhaled, dying to the sound of his last command, "Just let go..."